University of South Carolina

Provided by Michael Shortt

The University of South Carolina Main Campus in Columbia, SC is absolutely loaded with tunnels, I should know, I was arrested by campus security in 1979 for exploring.

The tunnel system was accessed through manhole covers and through the power stations located throughout the campus ( I have learned that these are now bolted). Six of my fraternity brothers and myself made the descent outside the fraternity quad area on a cold October night, we were extremely overdressed, the down-under temperature was easily over one hundred degrees, the humidity was 95%.

To be brief, the tunnels are about twenty feet below street level, each is about eight feet in diameter, inside the concrete tubes are two 24" giant steam tubes and four to six smaller 12" diameter tubes plus assorted cables and telephone wires. Lighting is provided by twin fluorescent fixtures, end to end that look as though they go for miles. In fact, the whole experience seemed like a real life visit to the set of that sixties television series, "The Time Tunnel", this was before widespread computers and the web, trust me when I say that this was a "cool" thing.

We roamed for hours, coming up in buildings all over campus, out in a closet door, a janitors closet, an elevator shaft, you name it, the system has it. We emerged early in the wee hours of a Saturday morning much to the dismay of a couple of campus security officers who had been notified by someone who had seen our original descent. We were told that they had been waiting for six hours for us to return, they had no idea where we were and were unwilling to come in after us.

We were transported to the Police station, lectured strongly, photographed and released.

Days later, each of us was called before the Dean of Students who proceeded to chastise us profusely, luckily many of the group were members of the Inter-Fraternity Council, responsible for many good deeds and philanthropic endeavors. After a sufficient reaming, we all went out and had a pitcher or two with the understanding that should we be caught again that our education would be completed at another school.

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